Jordan's King Abdullah II yesterday told a delegation of Knesset members that "we are in the same boat, we have the same problem. We have the same enemies." The king reiterated the comments a number of times, which those at the meeting said referred to Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.
Abdullah also emphasized that he spoke not only for Jordan but for a group of states in the region. The king asked at one point: "Do you want Iran on the banks of the Jordan?"
Former Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin said in response: "I have seen Jordanian openness that does not hesitate to scold extremist Muslims." MK Shlomo Breznitz said that the comments raise the first hope that moderates plan to set the tone in the Arab world. "The style and daring are new," he said.
The king made the comments at his palace in Amman in a meeting with Acting Israeli President Dalia Itzik and Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Tzachi Hanegbi, as well as six additional lawmakers. The Israeli delegation attacked a mention of an Arab right of return, saying there is no Israeli who will agree to that and it would be like asking Israel to commit suicide.
The king responded again and again that everything would be consensual. He claimed the Arab peace plan is not a plan but talking points. After Rivlin said the Arab League secretary commented "Take it or leave it," Abdullah said "Leave him to me." He did say that instead of talking about he right of return, it might be necessary to talk about the right to compensation, and that it was not only an Israeli problem, but also a problem of the wealthy Arab countries.
The king called on Israel to "adopt the Arab initiative as the basis for negotiations with the Palestinians and not to miss this historic opportunity for recognition by all the countries of the region and true integration into the region." He added: "I worry about the generations to come. This is an unparalleled opportunity and I have taken it upon myself to influence the people of Israel."
The palace announcement emphasized that the Knesset delegation was invited as part of the king's diplomatic efforts to jumpstart the peace process. The Arab League has decided to appoint Jordan and Egypt to take the lead in approaching the Jewish state to promote the Arab peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Israeli delegation was impressed with Abdullah's frankness but said he demands too high a price.
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